When teaching First Aid, we often think that it’ll be dry and theoretical. What are the steps to treat snake bites? How to know if somebody is having a heat stroke? Even when doing the more “exciting” practical components such as CPR, we may get too caught up in the technicalities of it. I remember feeling so pressured during my First Aid training as the whole session just felt like a downloading of information and subsequently a test of what was taught! I’m sure that was the First Aid training that most adults had to go through. Will children then want to learn First Aid in this way? I don’t think so! Learning First Aid can and should be meaningful and fun! Here are some guiding points:
- Content should be age appropriate and relatable
What sort of First Aid treatments are suitable for your child to learn at their developmental stage? A 7 year-old child can be taught how to bandage a wound, but perhaps teaching a 4 year-old how to call for help from an ambulance or other adults is already a skill worth applauding!
Additionally, the injuries and treatments we teach should also be common ones to prevent a disconnect between what they learn and what they experience in their everyday lives. Select injuries that are relatable and that children have experienced before or are likely to experience. In Outdoor School Singapore, we cover common outdoor injuries such as animal bites, heat exhaustion, lacerations and teach our young explorers the respective treatments. Thus for young children, we would recommend you to introduce something that they can relate to. One example is mosquito bites. Most children have experienced a mozzie bite or two in their lifetime. Simple discussions with them on how they can treat the bite on their bodies can be a good start!
- Make learning FUN!
Remember how I said my experience of learning First Aid felt like a downloading of information? While it was informative, it certainly wasn’t the most engaging! In Outdoor School Singapore, we don’t let the teaching component become the central part of our sessions as that would often lead to a very unengaging and “lecture-style” format. Rather, we create a fun environment where children learn and practice First Aid through games, challenges and imaginative play. They are more likely to remember these experiences!
For instance, our young explorers from the Survival Series were enrolled as soldiers on a rescue mission to save a casualty. We make it a principle that our teaching component would only cover the brief first part of the session. The focus would always be more on the mission - working together to solve puzzles uncovering casualty’s location, completing challenges to collect First Aid supplies and then finally applying their First Aid skills to treat the casualty. Such roleplaying frames the whole learning experience and the challenges makes it much more exciting!
This approach not only taps into the children’s intrinsic motivation but also creates a fun experiential learning opportunity that can better help with retention of knowledge. Thus, start with something as simple as getting children to roleplay as little doctors treating cuts on their toys! Through the experiential learning process, they can learn the correct treatment protocols and are more likely to enjoy learning it.
Start your child’s First Aid journey today with these useful guiding points. Don’t forget to share with us stories of their learning journey as we would love to hear from you!